Barnaby Joyce will join the new cabinet taskforce on women’s security and economic security, the government has confirmed.
Labor senator Jenny McAllister noted in Senate question time that the former deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, was a member of the cabinet taskforce overseeing the status of women, and tasked with the government’s responses to the Foster and Jenkins reviews. McAllister asked whether Joyce would replace McCormack on that group.
The government’s Senate leader and finance minister, Simon Birmingham, replied:
McAllister, in a follow-up question, said the former deputy prime minister was also deputy chair of the governance committee of cabinet, responsible for ministerial standards and conducts of member of executive.
“Will newly appointed deputy prime minister Joyce, the only member of parliament who had his own clause in the ministerial standards, replace Mr McCormack?”
(That appears to be a reference to the move by Malcolm Turnbull to ban ministers having relationships with staffers in their own offices.)
Birmingham said he had not seen updates to all of the cabinet committee arrangements, but said they would be published in the ordinary way.
McAllister then pointed to Nationals MP Michelle Landry’s pre-spill comments about some women being unhappy if Joyce returned to the leadership.
McAllister asked: If Joyce doesn’t even have the confidence of his own colleagues, how can he have seat at cabinet taskforce on status of women?
Birmingham said the the cabinet taskforce on women’s safety and economic security brings together women who are cabinet ministers, together with the prime minister, deputy prime minister, treasurer and finance minister.
He said members of the leadership group were on the taskforce “to ensure that it informs decisions right across government”.